By Duncan Mackay
May 26 - Rugby is prepared to make a $20 million (£12.5 million) financial sacrifice to regain its place in the Olympics, the sport's chief exeuctive Mike Miller told insidethegames today.
The International Rugby Board (IRB) promised today that it would scrap its successful World Cup tournament, an event that this year in Dubia attracted a record television audience of 760 million viewers and attracted record sponsorship and crowds.
Miller said: "If we were to be re-included in the Olympic Games, our intention would be to stop the Rugby World Cup Sevens so there would be one pinnacle in the four-year cycle of rugby sevens,.
"That pinnacle would be the Olympic Games.
"I think rugby as a sport would gain from being in the Olympics.
"[Losing sponsorship and revenue] would be a small price to pay for being in the Olympics."
Miller, along with the IRB's President Bernard Lapasset, Kenya sevens captain Humphrey Kayange and Cheryl Soon, the captain of the Australian team that won the women's tournament in the World Cup in March, are currently in London rehearsing for the sport's presentation to the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) ruling Executive Board in Lausanne on June 15.
Along with baseball, golf, karate, roller sports, softball and squash, the six other sports hoping to be elected onto the 2016 Olympic programme, it will be their only opportunity to present their case before the Executive Board are due to recommend two sports to be chosen at its meeting in Berlin on August 13.
Rugby sevens, together with golf, is seen as the favourite to be chosen.
The sport last appeared on the Olympic programme at Paris in 1924 when the United States won the gold medal.
But the IRB is now pinning its hopes for developing the sport across the world on rugby sevens being included in the Olympics.
Lapasset said: "We are committed to growing the sport around the world.
"Being included in the Olympics would help it grow more quickly.
"The spirit of this game [sevens] is very close to that of the Olympic spirit."
Miller said: "Rugby has shown tremendous growth.
"But there are still 85 or 90 countries we are still not played in and we would like to be played in every country in the world.
"We will continue to grow but rugby could grow faster if we are part of the Olympic programme."